After the twin pieces of Unleashing the Cataclysm and Gaia, I knew I wanted to push into a darker direction, both in terms of the content and the drawing style. Pillars of Affliction reflects an effort to do that.
I will dive into more detail about the inspiration and symbolism for this one when I share the color art next month, but it's enough to mention here that this one was created shortly before the first of several corrective jaw surgeries. I was moving through a rapid series of dental appointments, sometimes two or three per week, and was often on my back with my mouth open for hours at a time with sharp instruments cutting, slicing, stitching, etc. There was a lot of physical pain associated with those appointments, and Pillars very much reflects the time and energy spent toward those things.
As for the drawing style, I wanted Pillars of Affliction to have a rougher, more jagged quality than previous pieces. There was a deliberate effort to make the lines more angular, and I had a much more relaxed attitude toward the overall "cleanliness" of the line work. In addition to the aesthetic considerations, it had taken me a significant amount of time to create the pencil and ink art for Gaia, and I wanted to increase the rate at which I'm producing these drawings.
I also felt I could've done a better job on previous pieces with balancing light and dark areas, so that was something I wanted to continue to work on with the drawing for Pillars.
As always, the drawing began using a 2H drawing pencil on Bristol paper (this one is 11"x14"). When I began, I had a loose vision for the uppermost figure and a general idea of his lower half morphing into something else. The rest of it was improvised as I worked, using mouth trauma as a guide to pull together my influences from comic books, old school metal music, Giger, etc.
Inking was done with Winsor & Newton black Indian ink and applied using a combination of 102 crow quills and round brushes, again focusing on being a little looser and more aggressive with my mark making.
Having worked on a few pieces after this one, I can already look back and understand this drawing as a transition point, and it marks an important shift in the evolution of my drawings as I seek to find myself again after many years away from my art.
Many more details about this one next month in the post for the color art, but in the meantime keep your eyes peeled for a new (and newly renamed) installment of Preston's New Underground Metal Picks later this month.